The next piece of the armor that we will look at is the breastplate of righteousness. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines righteous is "acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin." The website gotquestions.org states, "The Bible’s standard of human righteousness is God’s own perfection in every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, and every word." Wow! Righteousness is a tall order. It seems an impossible standard to meet. Well, it is. How can little ol' us ever hope to meet "God's own perfection?" We simply can't, at least not in of ourselves. In fact, Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."So why does Paul instruct us to have on the breastplate of righteousness? Is that even possible? I mean, the belt of truth is definitely possible, but a breastplate of righteousness?
Well, the question arises, is Paul asking us to put on our own righteousness? No he is not. As believers, we have accepted Christ's sacrifice as a payment for our sins. Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" and in 1 Peter 2:24 " who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed." We can put on the breastplate of righteousness because of Jesus. His work on the cross means that we, as those who have believed, are now righteous in the sight of God.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." ~2 Corinthians 5:21
So how do we put on the breastplate of righteousness. Well, it comes after we have put on the belt of truth. Once we are firmly planted in the truth of God and who He is we are able to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The first we must do is be obedient to the word of God. God's standard is holiness. Therefore, we hold up or thoughts, words, and deeds to the standard of holiness and when they don't comply we ask for forgiveness and strength to change and we get to work.
Studying the word of God is so important when it comes to the armor of God and it is extremely important when it comes to the breastplate of righteousness. You cannot rely on your or the world's definition of righteousness. Therefore, you must check the manual (the Bible), to make sure that you are truly equipped.
Remember that the breastplate is protecting the heart. If the heart is injured, then death is fairly certain. In spiritual warfare, if the enemy gets to your heart, then you are in deep, deep trouble. Proverbs 4:23 states, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." The state of your heart determines the decisions you make and the quality of life you enjoy. As such, we must be very, very sure that we have on the breastplate of righteousness. It is imperative that we "guard our hearts."